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Research Results

NZ First 10% and set to hold balance of power

20 Nov 11

NZ First 10% and set to hold balance of power
Winston Peters .. a strong week. "Definite" voters give him the balance of power

An HorizonPoll shows New Zealand First making significant gains in the past week.


New Zealand First now has 10.5% of people 18+ who have decided their party vote, or are undecided but indicate a preference and who are registered and are “definitely” going to vote.


In the past week New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has appeared in a minor parties leaders’ television debate and achieved extensive media coverage on the issue of an intercepted communication between Mr Key and Mr Banks.


The new Conservative Party also has 4.7% and at this level of support, relative to other parties, would also achieve 6 seats.


The HorizonPoll finds that those who say that they "definitely will vote" are currently 75.3% of the population 18+.  This compares accurately with the turnout in the 2008 general election which was 75.1% of those who were 18+, or 79.5% of the 18+ population which enrolled (source Electoral Commission).


Horizon says the “definite” vote sample of 2,497, with a maximum margin of error of +/- 2%, may be the group giving the better indication of likely election results.


The results indicate a National-Conservative-Act-Maori Party- United Future grouping would have 59 seats in a 122 seat Parliament. This assumes Act and United Future win Epsom and Ohariu, the Maori party has 4 electorate seats and Mana one.


A Labour-Green group would have 47, and 50 if joined by Mana.


New Zealand First would have 13 seats and the balance of power in the new Parliament.


A National-led coalition would muster 73 votes with New Zealand First support.


A Labour-led coalition would muster 63 votes if supported by New Zealand First and Mana.


The results comparing those who will “definitely” vote, with those for voters who will “definitely, may or probably” vote are:


Definitely will vote

"Potential Vote":  Definitely will vote, Probably will vote and May vote




ACT New Zealand



Conservative Party of New Zealand



Green Party



Labour Party



Mana Party



Maori Party



National Party



New Zealand First Party



United Future



Other party



Choose not to vote



Don't Know







*Totals may not sum exactly owing to rounding





Margin of error




Note: This result is based on respondents who said that they were registered to vote and were eligible to vote.  It combines the results for those who have already decided how they will vote, with the results from those who are not sure, but have a preference for one party or another. These cannot be directly compared with other published polls which are for decided voters only expressed as a percentage of 100, which do not include the preferences of undecided voters, or filter for voter registration and intention to vote. The HorizonPoll also weights on 2008 party vote age, gender, ethnicity, educational qualification and personal income to ensure a representative sample of the New Zealand adult population.


Among all potential voters – those with a preference who definitely, may or probably will vote (not just the definite voters) the following support changes have occurred since November 13, compared with November 19:


Act 3.2% (+ 0.2%)

Conservative 4.7% (no change)

Green 12.4% (-4%)

Labour 27.6% (- 0.2%)

Mana 2.1% (+ 0.7%)

Maori Party 1.2% (+0.6%)

National 32.6% (-2.9%)

NZ First 10.1% (+5.7%)

United Future 0.8% (-0.1%)

Net don’t know (those still without a preference) 4% (no change)


Voter loyalty


Of all parties, New Zealand First has the highest voter loyalty among 2008 voters (85.7%).


National has next highest at 71.2%, the Greens 68.6%, Labour 61.1%, Act 55.6%. The Maori Party has 19% loyalty only.


New Zealand First is drawing its support from 2008 party voters in the following ways:


  • 9 % from Labour
  • 9.1%  Maori Party
  • 4% Green
  • 11.6% Jim Anderton’s Progressives
  • 7.2% National
  • 4.5% United Future
  • 4.9% from other minor parties
  • 8.4% of those who chose not to vote in 2008 (an important group totalling about 187,000 registered electors).

Horizon says a great deal will depend on actual voter turnout and the result of electorate voting in Epsom, Te Tai Tokerau, Maori Party-held Maori electorates, Ohariu and Rodney.


Full tables detailing the Definite Potential Vote can be downloaded here.